Faf du Plessis, the former South Africa skipper and the current captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), has expressed his deep admiration for MS Dhoni and acknowledged that he learned the art of remaining calm on the field from Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) superstar.
It is worth noting that Du Plessis made his IPL debut in 2011 under Dhoni in CSK.
Du Plessis enjoyed a decade-long association with Dhoni until CSK released him ahead of the 2022 IPL players’ auction. However, the Proteas star found a new home with RCB after they acquired his services and entrusted him with the captaincy following Virat Kohli’s decision to step down from the role in IPL 2021.
In an exclusive conversation with NDTV, Du Plessis expressed his utmost admiration for the CSK skipper.
Reflecting on his cricketing journey, Faf acknowledged himself as fortunate to have learned from influential leaders such as Graeme Smith, Stephen Fleming and Dhoni throughout his career. Their guidance and mentorship played a crucial role in shaping his understanding of leadership and the nuances of captaincy.
“Very lucky to have played with leaders that I could learn from. When I was playing for South Africa, Graeme Smith was the captain there and then my first year moving to Chennai, I didn’t play one game that year but my sole purpose from the season was to learn. I would be sitting next to Stephen Fleming, asking him questions. A lot about leadership, more than he would’ve expected someone to ask,” said Faf.
The right-handed batter further revealed how Dhoni led CSK during his first season with them.
“I was just observing MS from a distance. I was stealing from my eyes, my years about why he is so successful, what makes him so successful. Even at that stage, one of the most successful international and domestic captains in the world of cricket. It was a privilege to learn from someone like that. But I think also something that I picked up really early on was the importance of being the leader that you are. I could never captain like MS or Virat or Graeme Smith or Stephen Fleming. I find my own way but you can look at things and incorporate from other people.”
Faf also threw light on the biggest thing he learned from Dhoni during his tenure with the Yellow Army.
“Something that came from MS is how calm he is and I think that’s something that I have shown through my leadership as well. I am always trying to make sure that I am very clear with my players. You give your absolute best and move on. So, I think that will be the biggest one I picked from MS. He is called captain cool for a reason. There’s no greater guy to learn about being cool than MS Dhoni,” the 38-year-old added further.